Today is the anniversary of a memorable though inconsequential day in Baseball history: 100 years ago today, Archibald "Moonlight" Graham played in his only major league game. He did not make a plate appearance.
On this day in 2005 I defragged my harddrives at home and at work.
Joined: Oct 23, 2004
I always thought Moonlight Graham was a made-up character from a movie, not a real-life ballplayer for the New York Giants.
"Yet the tale is true, at least most of it. Because June 29, 1905 -- exactly 100 years ago Wednesday -- Archibald Wright Graham made his lone appearance in the majors. He never got to hit. Instead, he was left on deck. A late substitute in a lopsided, 11-1 win, he played only two innings. There's no proof he ever touched the ball."
After Moonlight Graham (ahem) retired from baseball, he really did move to Chisholm, Minnesota after the town placed a newspaper ad for a school doctor. Doc Graham practiced community pediatric medicine in Chisholm until he died over 50 years later.
Field of Dreams author W.P. Kinsella said, "My approach to fiction writing is that when I need facts, I invent them. So I would have invented a background for Moonlight Graham, but I'm sure nothing as wonderful as the truth."
In Field of Dreams, Moonlight Graham finally did get his time at bat. Facing Chicago White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte (play by actor Steve Eastin), the young Archie Graham (Frank Whaley) drove in a run by slapping a sacrifice fly to right field. In the film when Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) commented that the baseball career and lifelong dream of Moonlight Graham (Burt Lancaster) had lasted only five minutes and would be considered a tragedy by many people, Doc Graham replied, "Son, if I'd only got to be a doctor for five minutes, now that would have been a tragedy."
"In the movie, Graham was a late season call-up, so he would not have played in June."
There were a few other minor differences between the real "Moonlight" Graham and his portrayal in the movie. What surprised me, nonetheless, was that there was a real Moonlight Graham who played in only one major league game, never batted, and became Doc Graham in Chisholm, MN for over 50 years.